Prime Minister Theresa May said the attacker who killed three people near the British Parliament was born in Britain. And he was investigated by the country's intelligence agency MI-5 "in relation to concerns about violent extremism."
May added that there was no earlier information on the suspect’s plan or his reason for carrying out the attack. Investigators believe that the attacker was influenced by “Islamist ideology."
Shortly after May spoke with members of the parliament, the Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility saying the attacker was a "soldier of Islamic State."
On Wednesday, the attacker crashed an SUV into pedestrians near the Parliament building. The large vehicle killed two persons and injured many others. The attacker then stabbed a police officer to death before being fatally shot by another officer.
The attack injured about 40 people, including visitors from South Korea, China, Germany, France, Romania, Greece, Ireland, Italy and the United States. Twenty-nine people have been hospitalized. Seven are in critical, or extremely serious, condition.
British police have arrested eight people in connection with the attack. The arrests were carried out in London, Birmingham and other parts of the country.
Mark Rowley is deputy commissioner for London's Metropolitan Police Service. Rowley did not say how those arrested were linked to Wednesday's attack. He said the “attacker acted alone and was inspired by international terrorism."
As the British Parliament reopened for its normal meetings Thursday, May told lawmakers that it "was an attack on free people everywhere."
"Yesterday an act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy, but today we meet as normal, as generations have done before us and as future generations will continue to do, to deliver a simple message: We are not afraid and our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism," she said.
In Washington, the White House said President Donald Trump spoke with Prime Minister May and was briefed on the attack.
Just days earlier, the United States and Great Britain banned larger electronic devices on direct flights from several nations in the Middle East and North Africa. Officials said that unspecified threats were the reason.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
Words in This Story
ideology - n. the set of ideas and beliefs
fatally - adv. causing death
inspire - v. to cause someone to have a feeling or emotion
resolve - n. strong determination to do something